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  Porsche LMP1/98

  Article Image gallery (20) WSC 002 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1998
Numbers built:2
Designed by:Ross Brawn and Tony Dowe for TWR
Predecessor:Porsche TWR WSC95
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 09, 2015
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe first Porsche TWR WSC95 was ready for a shakedown at Charlotte, just before Christmas. Driven by Hans Stuck, the car was not an instant success as the substantial changes to the aerodynamics made it unstable. Further refined by Tony Dowe and his TWR colleague Ian Reed, the new prototype racer was entered for the official test at Daytona. Still very new, the now improved WSC95 still proved a handful to drive and during the test, it was as much as three seconds off the ultimate pace. Porsche nevertheless pressed on and recruited an all-star team of drivers that included the likes of Mario Andretti, Bob Wollek and Scott Pruett.

Governing body IMSA had interpreted the results of the Daytona test quite differently and had come to the conclusion that Porsche was in fact 'sandbagging' to ensure the WSC95 was not further restricted for the race. So they slapped the car with a reduction in restrictor size and raised its minimum weight by 100 lbs. Back in Weissach, the number crunchers figured that with less power and more weight, the TWR Porsche would be a further four seconds slower. This left Porsche no other option but to withdraw the cars from the Daytona 24 Hours. A few months later the Sebring 12 Hours entry was also scratched for the same reason.

Both cars were shipped to Weissach to assess a possible entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans but due to the tight finances at Porsche, the manufacturer sat out the race. For the 1996 season, Porsche set about creating a new GT1 car and the two WSC95s looked destined to linger in a corner of the factory. That was until longtime and highly successful Porsche privateer Reinhold Joest came round. He had also skipped Le Mans in 1995, and recognised the potential of the prototype racers. It was agreed that Joest would be lent the cars for Le Mans and if he would win, he would be able to keep the winning chassis. Porsche meanwhile focused the works effort on the 911-based GT1 car.

In order to prepare for the race properly, Joest was given three days in the Porsche wind-tunnel, which was actually the first proper test for the WSC95. A dramatic lack of front downforce was discovered, which led to a revised, blunter nose. The work paid off as the lead WSC95, driven by Manuel Reutter, Alexander Wurz and TWR's Davy Jones started the race seventh, while sister car snatched pole. The Joest-entered WSC95 not only proved fast, it was also very reliable and won the race, having spent three minutes less in the pits than any of its rivals. This was Joest's fourth win as an entrant and Porsche's 14th as a manufacturer, and all that using a chassis that had been originally built back in 1991.

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  Article Image gallery (20) WSC 002 Specifications